May 15, 2010
Aunt Suzy says . . . .
A few years ago, I saw this recipe for an appetizer of baked feta cheese in Food & Wine Magazine. I had never heard of baking feta cheese before, but it looked delicious. It turns out it IS delicious!! It’s super easy to make and a hit when served with baguette, crackers and an assortment of olives. Several types of feta are available in solid blocks vs. crumbles, which is what you will need for this dish. For friends who live in Minneapolis, Bill’s on Lake & Aldrich is the place to get it. For those of you who live near a Trader Joe’s, they carry Greek feta in a block. I prefer French sheep’s milk feta when I can find it. Enjoy this beautiful and tasty dish with a Sauvignon Blanc or a French Pinot Noir.
Aunt Suzy actually gave me this recipe years back with her “Dinner in a Box” gift that she gave my husband and I as a wedding gift. It was a really fun gift that I will probably do for someone someday: in the year after we were married, four times we received a box from her that contained a menu with recipes, some ingredients and a few cooking implements to go with that we didn’t have yet. One of the menus contained a recipe for roasted beets, and as a side note she included this recipe, as a way to use the beet tops at another meal (you serve the feta on sauteed beet tops). I’ve used it several times now, and I LOVE it! We’ve even served it at a cocktail party, with slices of crusty bread, and it was a hit.
½ pound feta cheese cut in a ¾-inch slab
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
¼- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Cut the feta into 4 triangles and place in a glass baking dish. Place the pepper, garlic slices, oregano leaves and lemon zest on top of the cheese. You can vary the quantities of these ingredients to your taste. Pour the olive oil over the cheese carefully so as not to disturb the other ingredients. Marinate 5 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes till custard-like, but not browned. Lift cheese sections onto a serving plate (or individual plates) with a spatula and pour hot olive oil over all.
To serve with beet greens:
one to two bunches beet tops, stems trimmed and chopped into 1″ strips
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic for about a minute, then add greens in bunches and saute until just wilted. Transfer to serving platter, then arrange cheese pieces over top. Pour hot olive oil over all.